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Re-packaging Netscape 7.1 for GPO based install difficulties

By Level 11 Flexeran
Level 11 Flexeran
Hi guys,

I'm using Adminstudio 5 with Value pack 1 to try to re-package Netscape 7.1 for distribution in my organization. Users presently have Netscape 7.0, which is somewhat buggy and our web guy believes installing NS 7.1 will fix some problems.

Our enviornment is Windows XP Profession, fully patched and service packed. Users log on in the restricted user context.

Netscape's documentation, and my observations show that the normal behavior of Netscape's installer in this situation is to install right over 7.0 and preserve the user's existing Netscape profile--this does work when you run the setup.exe manually. Another note, the standard NS7.1 installer doesn't contain all the files, one has to get one of the two offline installers, the base install which contains only Flash 6 and McAffee Clinic activator as optional components, or the full install which includes a bunch of things, such as Sun Java, AOL Art Extensions, Viewpoint Media Player, Winamp 3, Canadian Region pack, etc. I have attempted the re-packaging using both offline installers, and using both snapshot and installation monitoring methods. After capturing the install, Netscape works fine, opens a web page asking you to register, etc. However, when running the captured MSI on a "clean" machine, similar to those in our environment, NS simply gets broken. Even trying to launch Netscp.exe from the command line from within the Netscape directory does not bring the process into the task manager. It just won't run.

I believe a big part of the problem may be that the Netscape Installer (from Netscape) does a non-standard thing. It creates a user profile under

C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\ApplicationData\Mozilla\Profiles\Default

that is a random folder name with an extension of .slt. In my case on this machine it is:

sqj6b4kk.slt. Within that folder exist bookmarks, a directory called Chrome, which I believe contains files and settings related to the User Interface, Netscape preference files (.js), etc.

The problem is that when AdminStudio captures the install, it records that the installer copies files to this directory. When you move the re-packaged .msi to a different machine, it invariably has a different folder under Default. So the .msi creates a folder with the same name as the profile name on the machine on which the install was captured. So within the folder named Default, you have the user's profile, and the profile directory from the machine on which the capture was performed.

Again, I don't know if this is the cause of Netscape not starting, but it seems like a good place to start.

Is there a way of building logic into the .msi to say:

1) go to c:\documents and settings\application data\mozilla\profiles\default
2) get the name of the subdirectory
3) install the updated things for 7.1 to that directory

I do not know why Netscape can't start at this point.

Thanks for you patience, if anyone made it to the end here!

(3) Replies
By Level 11 Flexeran
Level 11 Flexeran
After struggling with this all day, I've decided to take a different approach. Mozilla 1.4, on which Nestscape 7.1 is based, has a .zip file based install method. Simply unpack the directory and throw it in the program files folder.

To test this I grabbed the Program Files\Netscape\Netscape directory from a known good 7.1 machine, burned it to a cd, moved cd to clean machine (with 7.0 installed). Backed up 7.0 directory, emptied it, and copied everything from the known-good 7.1 directory in there.

Result: Same as with the captured .msi. Netscape does not start. I even grabbed the appdata\Mozilla from the known good 7.1 machine and with the same username, overwrote the appdata\mozilla directory on the clean machine. Still no start. Obviously, this method won't work. Since the symptoms are the same, I think that maybe I need to look outside of the AppData directory for the source of the problem.
By Level 11 Flexeran
Level 11 Flexeran
Dear friends,

I am trying to make a Microsoft Installer Package from the Netscape 7.1 Installer. I am having difficulties.

It turns out that NS 7.1, being a nice old-fashioned script based installer leaves a little log behind. Very cool. It has a lot of entries like this:

[1/394] Create Folder: C:\Program Files\NS71\Netscape\res

[2/394] Create Folder: C:\Program Files\NS71\Netscape\res\throbber

[3/394] Installing: C:\Program Files\NS71\Netscape\res\throbber\anims17.gif

Which are easy enough to read and replicate, and some entries like this which are similarly easy to read and replicate:

[301/394]Create Registry Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Netscape []

[302/394]Create Registry Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Netscape\Netscape []

[303/394]Store Registry Value String: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Netscape\Netscape [CurrentVersion]

What could be simpler? But then, I find something I don’t quite understand, although it looks a lot like the command used to run a java program in

Linux & Unix:

[366/394]Register Content: jar:resource:/chrome/toolkit.jar!/content/global-platform/

[367/394]Register Content: jar:resource:/chrome/comm.jar!/content/communicator-platform/

Now I’m willing to bet, and process-of-elimination is on my side here, that that is where AdminStudio is failing to capture things the install does. My theory is that the NS7.1 installer does a bunch of standard things: create directory here, copy files there, create registry keys here, set values there, then does these mysterious jar: things to tie itself together.

How can I replicate this, or the results of this, programatically?

By Level 11 Flexeran
Level 11 Flexeran
I have figured this out. The trick is that even the full install package is a compressed zip file. When you double click setup-exe (or when you tell Re-packager to launch it), it unzips the compressed files into a temporary directory in the user's Local Settings folder. At that point you need to go into Local Settings and copy the contents of the new folder into another folder. Then cancel the install. The new folder with the expanded contents will contain a config.ini file. You can edit that to remove components which the NS Installation menus don't expose, such as the AOL on Desktop (AOD) spyware. The folder will also contain another setup.exe. Launch that one in the re-packager and NS 7.1 repackages fine!

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